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Shoe-throwing as protest: A photo timeline
Across the Arab world, protesters have been showing dictators their disdain — by lobbing shoes and flashing their soles
Showing the bottom of your shoe is a sign of disrespect in Middle Eastern cultures, which is why footwear can be so prominent during protests. Getty
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hoes, considered ritually unclean in the Muslim faith, are left outside the door to the mosque when believers go in to pray. "The dirty and degrading implication of the sole of a shoe crosses all religious boundaries in the Middle East," says Martin Asser at BBC News. By extension, the throwing of a shoe conveys contempt — as famously demonstrated when an Iraqi journalist flung his at President George W. Bush during a 2008 press conference. With protests flaring in the Arab world, shoe-based protests have become increasingly common in countries like Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. Here's a look at how this practice has spread.

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